WSBK Race Two: Laverty matches pace and snatches win from Sykes

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The second ‘big bike’ race from Assen saw Sykes looking to build on his emphatic first race win and to truly begin his assault on the championship that he so desperately desires.

With the chasing riders having had time to tweak and adjust their bike settings – as well as their mental preparation and race plans – it was never going to go all the Kawasaki riders’ own way however and this proved true on lap four when Laverty on his Aprilia pushed Sykes to break away from the chasing pack; putting some 1.3 seconds between themselves and Giugliano in third.

Giugliano was riding comfortably in this position on the sixth lap but dramatically lost the front of his Aprilia RSV4 and slid into the gravel with his bike sparking and igniting into a stream of flame. This was a disappointing end to what had up until this point been a fairly solid weekend from the Italian on his Althea Aprilia.

By lap twelve, Sykes and Laverty – in their contrasting colour schemes – were now some four seconds ahead of the chasing pack of Loris Baz, Sylvain Guintoli and Jonathon Rea. Baz, showing little signs of fatigue from his Bol D’or endurance victory held onto this newly-found third place for several laps before finally faltering under the seemingly unending challenge of Guintoli. This battle was good news for Rea who managed to gain a few, extra tenths as the pair fought ahead of him, and by lap sixteen he found himself back, happily in the chase for the final podium place.

It was the penultimate lap when he managed to make his move on Guintoli, who by this time had dropped back to fourth under the un-ending challenge of Baz; the Frenchman himself had rode a fantastic race and finally brought his Kawasaki home in third.

Elsewhere in the field, both Chas Davies and Marco Melandri had much to prove after the BMW Motorrad Goldbet pair suffered less than successful earlier runs; with Davies dropping his bike on the warm-up session earlier in the day and Melandri failing to even start after a technical failure.

It would have been hard for this to have not been a better race for Marco Melandri and as the best performing BMW S1000RR throughout the entire weekend – technical issues aside – he did his best to maintain pace, until he rapidly slowed and dropped back through the riders in lap eight; finally finishing in eighth place with what could only have been a mechanical issue putting an end to any challenge for major points.

So Chas Davies it was who was able to show some of the form that he displayed in Aragon to bring the S1000RR home in fifth place; managing to take advantage of Guintoli’s rapidly degrading tyres on the final third of the final lap.

Meanwhile, back at the front, Eugene Laverty finally made his overtake on lap nineteen stick and it from then on it was simply a straight race to the line. Coming through the final chicane it was Laverty who held his line and Tom Sykes was denied a double podium despite a mad, dash towards the flag.

World Superbike Assen – Race Two Results:
1. E. Laverty – Aprilia
2. T.Sykes – Kawasaki +0.089
3. L. Baz – Kawasaki +5.848
4. J. Rea – Honda +5.890
5. C. Davies – BMW +7.359
6. S. Guintoli – Aprilia +7.404
7. L. Camier – Suzuki +21.095
8. M. Melandri – BMW +27.267
9. M. Fabrizio – Aprilia +30.233
10. C. Checa – Ducati +32.401
11. A. Badovini – Ducati +39.924
12. M. Neukirchner – Ducati +43.904
13. I. Clementi – BMW +1’00.169
14. F. Sandi – Kawasaki +1’01.853
15. M. Aitchison – Ducati +1’02.664
RT. J. Cluzel – Suzuki +7 laps
RT D. Giugliano – Aprilia +17 laps
RT. V. Ianuzzo – BMW +20 laps

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Steve Hunt

By Steve Hunt